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Identity Crisis

3.77  ·  Rating details ·  3,162 ratings  ·  380 reviews

Why are we all so hostile? So quick to take offence? Truly we are living in the age of outrage.

A series of apparently random murders draws amiable, old-school Detective Mick Matlock into a world of sex, politics, reality TV and a bewildering kaleidoscope of opposing identity groups. Lost in a blizzard of hashtags, his already complex investigation is further impeded by th

Kindle Edition, 384 pages
Published April 4th 2019 by Transworld Digital (first published November 5th 2015)
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Average rating 3.77  · 
Rating details
 ·  3,162 ratings  ·  380 reviews

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Nat K

"I have a very full life online."

Welcome back Ben Elton, it's been too long!

Ben's latest offering opens with D.I Mick Matlock speaking at a police media appearance to discuss a recently discovered body in a park. He unknowingly jumps right in with his size elevens by using the phrase "wrong place, wrong time". It was said unwittingly, and no offense was meant. But plenty was taken. The police media liaison department are quick to make him issue an apology, and so the Pandora's Box titled "Politi
Sam Quixote
Jun 03, 2019 rated it it was ok
If you say something controversial on social media, YOU DIE! At least that’s what literally happens to the beleaguered characters in Ben Elton’s latest novel, Identity Crisis.

I’d hoped this book was going to be a wry, amusing look at the current state of Western society - specifically: vapid celebrity worship, outrage culture and social media witch-hunts, empty and divisive identity politics, and out-of-control political correctness - but unfortunately it’s not. Elton touches on all of those su
May 01, 2019 rated it really liked it
When Senior Detective Michael Matlock says that a woman was in the wrong place at the wrong time when she was killed, he doesn’t realise the social blunder that he has committed and the ramifications that will result. Few authors do satire as well as Ben Elton and this seems to be his vent on everything that is absurd and simply wrong in our modern social media, PC correct world. Elton has his finger firmly on the zeitgeist of the times as he has his dig at Harvey Weinstein, interfering in polit ...more
Brooke - One Woman's Brief Book Reviews

Identity Crisis by Ben Elton. (2019).

Why are we all so hostile and so quick to take offence? Truly we are living in the age of outrage. A series of apparently random murders draws old-school detective Mick into a world pig sex, politics, reality TV and a kaleidoscope of opposing identity groups. Lost in a blizzard of hashtags, his already complex investigation is further impeded by the fact that he simply doesn't 'get a single thing a
Stephen Robert Collins
Jun 11, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Congratulations this another brilliant Ben Elton book .Its has 10 murders ,it is side splitting funny. Set just before the 2017 referendum this about political correctness gone insane.
This about transgender sexual zir the new word. This a world gone mad. This a Murder book with fucking twist so twisted you go bananas to get it.
Don't be in wrong place at wrong time This book was my Top Book of 2019
Apr 11, 2019 rated it really liked it
If we weren’t in the current post-truth #fakenews Trump-Brexit clusterfuck, I’d have laughed this off as fanciful. Of course, this is a very funny work of fiction, but there are some very disturbing truths which we will probably never be able to prove. Such is the society we live in today. Glad I left social media years ago; Goodreads isn’t SocMed, is it??
May 24, 2019 rated it did not like it
I hate myself for finishing this terrible book. Just really, really bad. Old man yells at cloud about “””identity politics””” for 376 stupid pages.
Carol Jones
Oct 08, 2019 rated it really liked it
Identity Crisis provoked intense discussion and not a little hilarity at my bookclub. Conceived as a murder mystery/thriller, Elton's latest novel also lampoons the new tribalism, identity politics, left-wing self righteousness and right-wing prejudices, while terrifying the reader with the potential for social media to manipulate our lives and our very thoughts. In the wrong hands (Russian bots, out-of-control algorithms anyone?) Elton seems to suggest with his trademark satirical wit, hashtags ...more
Emma Gerts
Whoooo boy. Okay. I have some feelings about this book. So many mixed feelings. I've been thinking about it since I finished it last night and I still can't quite decide how I feel about it so bear with me if this review is a mess.

I would like to preface this review by saying that generally speaking I like Ben Elton and I understand that this book is satire. The problem is, I just can't work out quite what it's trying to satirise, and therefore if I think the satirisation of that issue is somet
May 20, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book has its finger on the pulse of ‘the now’. Its hilarious & fabulous because it’s sprinkled with the reality of this period in time. ...more
May 15, 2020 rated it it was ok
Gave up. Just too damn political and therefore too damn depressing. Needed to move further away from the truth.

Sorry mr Elton, love your stuff but this was missing the funnies.
Apr 04, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Elton's Rifle!

I've always liked Ben Elton without ever being his biggest fan but in this book, he genuinely spoke to me. This is relentlessly bubbly, irreverent (of course) and often very funny. No target is safe in this very-near-future world of Elton's and he fires shots seemingly indiscriminately. While most politicians have made up names it's obvious who is being sent up, for example, Bunter Jollye and Plantagenet Greased-Hogg - can't imagine who they are modelled on . . .

Elton's story which
Apr 21, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: kindle, british
This book is hilarious, sad in parts, and terrifying as it is so easy to see the truth in the humour.
For a person of my age (61) who is struggling to understand the PC terms and the ever more baffling sets of initials e.g. TERF, cis etc, I did identify with Mick Matlock, always scared to use the wrong expression and be vilified and possibly out of work, just by using the wrong word!
The other terror is that of social media and reality TV. Ben has, again, made me think long and hard.
I will be even
Maine Colonial
Jul 17, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: audiobook, british, satire
This satire of identity politics and media manipulation must be effective because readers on both the left and right think it’s unfair to them. It’s definitely over the top, but not as much as we would all hope these days.

If it had been nothing but satire, I would have gotten tired of the nastiness of different interest groups being manipulated to bash each other. But there is also a murder mystery that drives the plot and that’s quite well done.

You don’t have to be a Brit to find this a good re
Jul 15, 2019 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
2.5 stars
I’ve never given such a low rating to a Ben Elton book but I would’ve given up on it if it wasn’t written by him. I was hoping it was going somewhere, but unfortunately not really.

The attempts at satire and commentary on political correctness and social media were interesting but I felt as if that took over. Yes, there was a plot, flicking back and forth between different characters that tied together in the end, but I didn’t really feel connected to the characters. Lots of people died
Apr 15, 2019 rated it did not like it
Usually love Ben Elton’s stuff as usually satirical and hilarious this was just not very good. Plot was daft and seemed to want to say a lot but said nothing. it was just 370 pages of opinion on today’s society rather than a book. So disappointed
Katy Noyes
Apr 12, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Epitomises the genre of satire, so over-the-top but also scarily familiar. Genius.

I've seen a fair amount of Ben Elton's comedy, and read several of his novels. I thought I had a handle on his politics, but it's to his credit that he's managed to satirise our contemporary crazy world so it is not clear whether he is railing against the world-gone-mad political correctness, harking back to a simpler time, or embracing it.

This is razor-sharp, relevant and completely on point. From police officers
Sara Eames
Apr 18, 2019 rated it really liked it
4.5 stars (I would have given it 5,if it wasn't for the gratuitous use of foul language)

Bad language aside, this is a brilliant book - a searing satire on modern society. Be warned, nothing is off-limits in this book. Ok, you have to suspend your disbelief with parts of the plot, but that comes with the territory. The characters are well-written and the plot moves at a cracking pace - it never lets up for a moment...and the body counts increases as you move through the book.

I have to say that t
Apr 24, 2019 rated it liked it
I like to think that Ben Elton usually adds an extra layer of something that might just be true to really elevate a social phenomenon. This one was a little too literal for me, and maybe it's just the age gap showing, but his attempts at levity through his dialogue (usually a huge strength) fell a little flat. I felt like he was trying to explain mindsets and get his audience up to speed on the language and approaches rather than doing anything innovative with them.

There's a campy thread that go
John Wedlake
May 10, 2019 rated it liked it
This book is definitely worth a read. As a generation x-er myself I can totally relate to the plight of Detective Matlock who feels cumbersome in this rapidly changing world of identity and obsessive political correctness.

Ben's satire remains sharp and I feel that this book aligns with some of his earlier works. However, the two last books and my favourites from Elton were: The Two Brothers and Time and Time Again which were of a different style to earlier novels and with Identity Crisis I feel
Craig Bellamy
May 11, 2019 rated it it was amazing
It all makes sense

A hilariously funny, hard hitting account of contemporary identity politics. Suddenly it all makes sense. The best book on the subject I have ever read.
Adrian Deans
Sep 14, 2020 rated it it was ok
2.5* There were flashes of genius in this book and some great ideas underpinning it all, but the execution let it down badly. It pretty much turned into an essay with ciphers for characters and I just wanted it to end. Ironically, just as he finally had something gripping happening to the characters, the whole thing ended, so what's the moral to this story?

A story needs to be told through the things that happen to the characters...not through the author shouting from a pulpit while holding up so
Apr 22, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Ben Elton makes you think. And I have to, because he's too clever for me :)

I want to sit down with a cup of tea and chat with him. Everything he says in this novel resonates with me. A world gone crazy, hashtag dogooding hijacked by corporate greed or straight out evil.

I kept going 'OMG! Right?' but then I worried that because he's a satirist that I was getting it wrong anyway. Maybe I wasn't supposed to be agreeing with him, just listening to him.

Anyway, a difficult read for me (keeping up) but
Shelly Stanley
Apr 16, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Truly Fantastic

Ben Elton has never been afraid to say what some of us think no matter how 'un -pc' it may be. This book is both a funny, sad and scarily true reflection of the world we now live in - where everyone is offended by everything and totally absurd issues are a thing of the moment and social media is king. For those of us born before the social media storm and the change in society we see today, it is indeed a masterpiece. Well done Ben Elton!
Jan 25, 2019 rated it really liked it
Brutally satirical, angry, funny. Personal highlight was a slimy politician called Plantagenet Greased-Hogg, wonder who that could be?
Mark Bulpitt
Apr 12, 2019 rated it it was amazing
An light-hearted look at the crazy times of today’s society; brilliantly written - hilarious with superbly interwoven characters and storyline.
Apr 16, 2019 rated it liked it
Worryingly believable
Black humour
Neil Spark
Mar 13, 2020 rated it it was amazing
When Chief Inspector Mick Matlock tells a media conference a murder victim was in the “wrong place, wrong time”, he unleashes a tirade of social media abuse. And he incurs the opprobrium of his bosses. After a meeting with the assistant commissioner and the media manager, old school Mick convenes another media conference to apologise. He doesn’t know why he’s apologising and the bewilderment he feels at the beginning of the novel lasts throughout.

Scotland Yard’s senior murder detective lived in
Sep 23, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Great read and I make no apology for liking Ben Elton. I know he can be a bit 'Marmite' but he writes very well and there aren't many people as sharp out there. This is a completely different take on Jonathan Coe's Middle England, going for laughs and outrage rather than political debate wrapped up in drama. However, there is a very important point being made here about the manipulation of the masses. Whichever side you might be on, there can be no doubt at all that we'll all been targeted with ...more
Cathal Kenneally
Ben Elton is a great writer but this is not his best book. His earlier works are much better. A bit of a strange ending to this one.
It is a sign of the times of how PC we have become.In a world besotted with social media it's easy to offend anyone regardless of colour, creed or religion. People who are easily offended should read this book. It's a good indication of how to laugh at yourself and each other. We need to lighten up!
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Ben Elton was born on 3 May 1959, in Catford, South London. The youngest of four, he went to Godalming Grammar school, joined amateur dramatic societies and wrote his first play at 15. He wanted to be a stagehand at the local theatre, but instead did A-Level Theatre Studies and studied drama at Manchester University in 1977.

His career as both performer and writer encompasses some of the most memo

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“The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go.”  Theodor Geisel said...
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“We prefer “survivor”.’ ‘But this particular woman is dead,’ Matlock pointed out. ‘Yes.’ ‘So “survivor” isn’t really an appropriate term.’ ‘I’m aware of that. What we need is a new term for survivors of assault who died.” 1 likes
“She wondered if perhaps it was something to do with marking their territory. Like dripping on the floor.” 0 likes
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